Le Car Chronicles: No. 002:

Smooth lines and narrow tail lights

Cars, like any object, are a reflection of the lives lived by the people that ride in them. 

In her memoir Becoming, Michelle Obama devotes several passages to the "Deuce and a Quarter," her father's bodacious, bronze Buick Electra 225. 

We loved the Deuce and a Quarter, too. It had smooth lines and narrow tail lights that made it look cool and futuristic. It was roomy enough to feel like a house. I could practically stand up inside of it, running my hands over the cloth-covered ceiling. That was back when wearing a seatbelt was optional, so most of the time Craig and I just flopped around in the rear, draping our bodies over the front seat when we wanted to talk to our parents. Half of the time I pulled myself up on the headrest and jutted my chin forward so that my face could be next to my dad's and we'd have the exact same view. 

As Michelle remembers it, to her father, that Buick represented freedom from his disability. When it came to her own taste, Michelle first pictured herself as a conventional station wagon kind of person, and then later an aspirational Saab driver, the brand she saw as symbol of success when she worked as a corporate attorney. Her life in cars took a turn when she diverged on a decidedly different path, signing on to campaign for the 44th president, on the road crisscrossing Iowa until she arrived the the next juncture. Now as First Lady, her life is lived chauffeured in a motorcade. 

You can learn a lot about a person based on the way they remember the rides of their lives. We look forward to learning about yours. 

It's Improper French
We are not the first to use "Le Car." The Renault Le Car was a 1976 partnership between American Motors Company and the Renault corporation for the American market. But we think Le Car has a perfect ring to it, feels a bit quirky, and matches the spirit of the Le Car app that lives here.



Le Car started as an idea that grew over time, and the name came later. We took our time settling on a name because getting the name right was paramount. As an editor, I've learned how a few short words capture the essence of a writer's work. I've founded a few things, including a now defunct design and car blog called Gotryke. But naming a new business in the era of search and traction seemed more daunting. I always knew what I wanted it to do — to make car shopping more fun. 

And so our Le Car inspiration is actually home grown. Le Car is a tip of the hat to the Detroit electro band of the same name. In fact one of the band members has built another band with his partner Nicola Kuperus called Adult. Nicola is also a photographer, whose work sometimes uses cars as well, in the most deliciously wicked ways (the image of woman reaching into trunk of Chevy Impala above). Le Car: a Detroit electro-tribute-band-app. 

We are getting just getting started and excited to share the journey with you. 

Onward,

Tamara Warren,
founder of Le Car, writer, journalist

The Provacateurs

WENDY WASHINGTON is the founder and CEO of the TID Agency, an experiential marketing firm that is literally on the move. TID specializes in bespoke event production, public relations, and a unique approach to the contemporary pop-up shop. The company has a fleet of fully customizable trucks that brands such as Sony, Def Jam, and SiriusXM have transformed for events around the country. TID—which stands for This Is Dope—has also used its trucks to drive voter registration on college campuses. 

AURELIE HARP and LYDIA DARLY lead The Womanity Project, a nonprofit multimedia platform dedicated to deconstructing cultural and gender stereotypes. Content takes shape in a video series, podcasts, and a weekly blog. The Womanity Project produces improv workshops that explores questions of identity. CEO Aurelie, a producer and artist founded the organization. Lydia, a filmmaker and actress, serves as VP and producer. 

LAURA SCHWAB is President of Aston Martin the Americas. In addition to leading an iconic luxury brand in the US market in a time of great change, Laura is a mentor and fantastic motivational speaker, who always keeps it real. She breaks it down in her LinkedIn Influencer articles. She writes about being unafraid to make mistakes, "As my imaginary mentor, Tina Fey, wrote in her book, Bossypants, “Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”

What we're driving
 

Spotlight: Road tripping in a Lincoln Navigator 
I live a lot of my life on airplanes, rushing around the country to cover events, attend conferences or to take meetings. But at least once a year, I like to bypass security checks in favor of a long luxurious road trip off the grid with my family. One perk of being a car journalist is that car companies arrange for me to test their cars. (How else do you think Le Car would be able to make such great recs?) Last month I borrowed a Lincoln Navigator Black Label, the top-of-the line extra squishy carpet edition. While I tend to think that people often drive more car than they need, my excursion from New York to Detroit and back was the exception: going big was essential. The Lincoln Navigator is all about quality of life when used for a 600-mile roundtrip road trip with two kids in the back in the dead of winter. It might have been sleeting outside, but inside the spacious cabin, 30-way adjustable massage-giving and heated seats, made this long ordeal pleasant.  I had all the creature comforts afforded by a souped-up minivan, but in a well designed modern cabin still felt like I had some ounce of style. Then there's the overstock on entertainment. The kiddos had two 10.0-inch adjustable screens that came with remotes and wireless headphones, a path to contentment. This vehicle is about unapologetic excess, so I never lacked for a charger, cupholder or a glance at the massive touchscreen. I'm still working on my fluency of Sync3, the telematics system (too much happening!), but the basics were easy enough to interpret after a few tries. The Navigator is still a significant fuel sipper earning 20 mpg, but it's very much improved over of the 2001 model year where the Navigator earned a paltry 12 mpg in city conditions.  Finally, road trip is only as good as the music. The 14-speaker Revel sound system kept us going well into the night. I can't imagine driving the Navigator for everyday driving, but its will stay at the top of my wish list for a long journey with kids in tow:  the giant spa on wheels. The Lincoln Navigator Black Label is $96,395.

2019 Infiniti QX50

The QX50 is a compromise crossover that pairs luxury and modesty. Powered by the same engine found in the Nissan Altima, a Turbo 2.0-liter inline-four, it has generous power and decent fuel economy. Its leathered-up interior is comfortable and feels like a luxe vehicle. It comes with the optional bonus of ProPilot Assist, a nifty form of early self-driving tech that combines cruise control and automatic steering. 
How much the base vehicle costs: Base price:  $36,550

2019 Cadillac XT4

Made by GM, the XT4 is the same size as the more pedestrian Chevy Equinox. The XT4 adds the sleek hard angles that are part of the Cadillac aesthetic, a more decadent interior, and oomph in the drive. Its a new product that joins the crowded crossover playing field. It's achieved a sense of balance with just enough room for a small family that still manages to keep the gas bill in check, even on all-wheel drive models.
Base price: $34,795.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Invincible: that's the feeling a driver gets behind the wheel of this mid-sized pickup truck. And, when you drive this behemoth, your everyone's best friend on moving day. This model year truck has spruced up its interior and  beefed up tech options, adding in wifi and Apple CarPlay.  The best part: it has outlets galore. Compared to older trucks, it's a much less thirsty ride, though certainly not perfect. Shoppers will find it worth comparing to the Ram and F150. Be prepared for a myriad of options. Trucks are all about expressing the power of choice. Base price: $34,600

Le Car in the news:

Le Car debuted on Cheddar Rides.
Source: Cheddar

Le Car is the recipient of the Summit x Mercedes-Benz EQ Fellowship.
Source: Coolhunting

Tamara Warren of Le Car co-hosts weekly Cheddar show on future of transporation
Source: Cheddar 
 

Pay Attention:

dream hampton talks to Jelani Cobb about the making of "Surviving R Kelly"
Source: WNYC

How she deals: Mary HK Choi, author of Emergency Contact has launched a new micro podcast called, "Hey Cool Life"
Source: iTunes

Tamara of Le Car writes about the joy of dance for Afropunk.
Source: Afropunk

Testify Books has released The ABCs of Style:A Graffiti Alphabtet a new children's book about how to decipher the perfect letter 
Source: Stadium Goods

*Images: Courtesy of manufacturers, Nicola Kuperus, Aurelie Harp, and Wendy Washington. Le Car portrait by Anna Bauer. 
 

© 2018  Le Car.  All rights reserved.

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PO BOX 2912, W 12 Mile Rd, Farmington, MI 48333-9998



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Le Car · PO Box 2912 · Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9998 · USA